Blockchain has probably been the biggest buzzword in the sector of late, and now the technology that promises to record transactions digitally and publicly is making its way further into the mainstream.
Loomia, a New York-based tech company tapping blockchain as part of its effort to make our clothes—and the way we use them—smarter, has already worked with apparel brands like The North Face and Zac Posen on providing functionality for their textiles.
The three-year-old startup makes apparel-friendly fabric layers with built-in electronic circuits as thin and flexible as nylon that can add connectivity and function to fabrics. Loomia’s technology, which connects to a battery pack called Loomia Tile, can do things like provide soft heating for footwear, allowing boots to automatically heat up when it’s cold outside. Other applications of the technology include lighting, where a jacket could light up once night falls to make sure the wearer is always visible, which would be ideal for safety during activities like night biking.
Now the company is announcing new platforms that could eventually see consumers profiting from their clothes by selling the data the garment collects back to brands and retailers, and earning rewards redeemable through blockchain.
What exactly is blockchain and how will Loomia use it?
In the simplest terms, blockchain is a distributed database, a massive spreadsheet of sorts, that’s hosted by millions of computers at the same time. Changes or transactions are regularly reconciled and recorded chronologically and publicly, eliminating the need for a trusted third party to facilitate digital relationships.
What Loomia wants to do is connect its functional Loomia Electronic Layer to Loomia Tile and Loomia Data Exchange. The three would work in conjunction as a platform that would allow wearers of Loomia infused garments to collect the data their clothing generates and provide it to brands and consumer research firms in exchange for rewards points.
Company CEO Janett Liriano told Blockchain News, “Loomia is creating a bridge between digital intelligence and the physical materials that we interact with every day. The Loomia Platform would shift the consumer data paradigm so that individuals, not corporations, own their personal data and profit from it if they choose.”
The new blockchain based currency will be sold to U.S. investors for now. Proceeds from the Token Generation Event, expected to start this fall, will be used to further the platform’s development.
“Consumers are increasingly spending time on and around connected devices such as the phones in their pockets or the appliances in their homes. Loomia set out to network the products we love, giving power to users for the data they create, as well as an opportunity to earn value,” Loomia founder and technical lead Madison Maxey said, according to Blockchain News. “Loomia envisions a world in which these once ‘dumb’ materials—consumer goods—actually work for the consumer, and that vision will now become a reality with the Loomia Platform.”
As Liriano added, “Together with our Blockchain partners and advisors, we are building an end-to-end solution to bring Blockchain to mainstream consumers. We see this revolutionary technology offering a widespread solution to day-to-day inconveniences we all experience. This is an application of the Blockchain that can seamlessly and securely connect consumers’ digital identity to their physical counterparts.”